How Cannabis Has Improved My Life

 

So, this likely isn’t a surprise to anybody who has previously visited my blog, but I just gotta say… I am super passionate about cannabis!

I love cannabis because intentional use of this medicine has allowed me to improve so many facets of my life. And I want to share just how cannabis has improved my life so that you can determine whether or not cannabis could be beneficial to YOU.

The issues I have dealt with in my life, and treated through intentional cannabis use, are pretty typical problems - depression/anxiety, grief, and burn-out. Who doesn’t experience these issues sometime during their life? And that’s why I’m so excited to share what I have found out… because I know that cannabis can help others deal with some of the more difficult facets of life that we all experience.

I’m not advocating for a drug that just helps us to escape our problems. No, I don’t think cannabis allows us to “escape”, actually. Rather, cannabis calms us down to the point where we can be present in the current moment. And, once we’re there, we can start to make the best decisions about how to take care of ourselves.

And with that, I’ll dive into how my personal experience with cannabis. It’s a little nerve-wracking sharing all of these details, but here I go :)


Cannabis helped me get off of anti-depressants

Gosh, getting off anti-depressants was very, very difficult - I hadn’t expected this to be so much of a challenge! But, the reality is that it was tough and continues to be tough. Months after quitting anti-depressants, I still use cannabis to help me with the withdrawal experiences.

Something I am proud to say I now live by: plants over pills.

Something I am proud to say I now live by: plants over pills.

I decided to stop taking anti-depressants after two years of using them. I have many reasons for stopping my anti-depressant regimen (for more info, check out my blog post about this here!), but the primary reason is that my husband and I are planning to conceive in the next year or two. My doctor advised that I could get pregnant and still continue the use of the anti-depressant I was taking (Prozac), but after some research, I have decided that I would rather cease use befor getting pregnant.

While I am following many natural approaches to cure my depression, including enhancing my personal spiritual connection, I have been using cannabis to help me deal with the anti-depressant withdrawals I have experienced over the past several months.

Anti-depressant withdrawal… I truly didn’t know this was a thing until I went through it. Like with any other drug, a sudden absence of this chemistry in my brain and body caused some strange reactions. Normally cool, calm, and collected, my personal demeanor shifted. I sometimes felt like my emotions were out of control! In fact, I was experiencing random bouts of anger. Small inconveniences like dealing with a faulty website or getting stuck in a “forgot password” loop would suddenly have me feeling like I needed to throw my computer! What had happened to my ability to remain composed under pressure?

At one point, I remember telling my husband, “I don’t think I can do this.” But I kept going. And cannabis helped.

Luckily, vaping cannabis helped me to calm down in those moments where I would experience intense anger and frustration. And it still does. I still use cannabis to help me get through the angry moments; cannabis allows me to breathe and work through the frustration when the overwhelm rears its ugly head.


Cannabis helps me deal with my anxiety

I deal with a lot of anxiety, and frankly, it really gets in my way. Due to my anxiety, I always feel like I have to “run away”… the feeling is difficult to describe. My anxiety puts me in that position of “fight or flight”, and my nature is to default to “flight”.

I have found a lot of relief and a reduction in my anxiety through smoking cannabis. Cannabis is great because it allows me to pause and enjoy the present moment. And while this may not sound remarkable, it’s a game changer for me. When I smoke cannabis, I feel like I can just be and don’t experience the inclination to flee my current situation.

Cannabis provided me relief after the loss of a loved one

Cannabis provided me relief after the loss of a loved one

Cannabis helped me to deal with grief

In 2015, my best friend passed away unexpectedly of an opioid overdose. As you can imagine, the amount of grief I experienced following this event was substantial. I think I have lived with depression since childhood, but Shannon’s death sent me into a deep depressive episode. I have written more extensively about the role of cannabis in grief management here, but essentially cannabis helped me to mindfully traverse this tragedy.

When I got “high”, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to tune out what happened. Tuning out wouldn’t have helped anything, anyway. But cannabis use allowed me to look at the situation with less judgement toward Shannon and less sadness overall. Cannabis helped me to find a quiet acceptance of the situation and become more accustomed to the fact that Shannon was really gone.

Finally, intentional cannabis use brought me back to all of my nostalgic childhood memories of my friend. Through mindful cannabis use, I was able to remind myself of the importance of remembering the good times with her rather than focusing on the bad experiences we shared toward the end of her life.


Cannabis helped me audit my alcohol consumption

After my friend passed away, I spent a few months doing all the wrong things to manage my grief… including drinking too much. Yikes. At one point, after realizing Shannon wouldn’t want me living like that, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to find another means for getting through the grief - cannabis!

During this time, I decided to completely quit drinking for awhile… at least until I felt like I was over the hump and had improved my ability to control my drinking habits. And so with that, I spent the next nine months without drinking any alcohol.

Cannabis products, particularly cannabis tinctures, helped me to get through this period without any alcohol. Whenever I felt the need to “take the edge off”, I created a “canna” cocktail instead of an alcoholic one. Cannabis tinctures also allowed me to feel like I was still able to imbibe with friends and family at happy hours and parties. I am so grateful that during this period, consuming cannabis provided me with a safe and healthy alternative to alcohol and helped me achieve my goal of auditing my personal alcohol consumption.


Cannabis helps me get in touch with my true desires

So, I tend to be kind of a “yes girl”. Let me explain. I say yes to most things… whether or not I really want to do/say/participate in whatever I am saying “yes” to.

I have spent most of my life doing what I thought I was supposed to do. This is definitely a common experience, and I think particularly so for Millennials; from the very beginning, we have been told to follow the “standard” path: get good grades, participate in extracurriculars, go to college, get a high-paying job, buy a house, have a family. You gotta be go, go, go and when you compete, you MUST win! It’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?

In line with societal and familial expectations, I have devoted the larger portion of my life checking off the boxes along the “standard” path. In middle and high school, I took piano lessons and participated in many school sports, although to be honest, both endeavors wore me out and didn’t bring me joy. I went to college, and am glad I did, but didn’t study what my heart loves (history) and instead majored in a topic that I thought would be more “marketable”. After college, I found a corporate job where I could chase a “respectable” amount of money and a flashy title.

However, did all of this chasing and achieving make me truly happy? Not really. By this point I was feeling pretty burnt out and just lost - what was all of that work for if it hadn’t brought me fulfillment along the way?

I then started to smoke cannabis with greater frequency and realized that cannabis cleared my mind of the societal expectations and all of the “supposed tos” that had been influencing my life decisions. Within this new headspace, I was able to consider what I really wanted to do, and determined that I want to write, create, foster community, and help people. I am here on Earth to do these things, not to sit a desk 40 hours a week building someone else’s dream.

With the help of cannabis, I have realized the importance of going my own way

With the help of cannabis, I have realized the importance of going my own way

And don’t you know it… once I realized what I really wanted to do, I was in a better position to make my dreams a reality. I untangled myself from a lot of the activities that I found to be draining and then started to do more of what brings me purpose. Now, I don’t have a flashy title. But it is so worth it. I no longer have to deal with the cognitive dissonance between what I do and who I am.


I share all of the above in the hopes that this information can help you determine how intentional cannabis use can plug into your lifestyle. Have any questions about my experience? Just let me know! Leave a comment and I’d be happy to expand on any of the above.

- Heather


I recently had the opportunity to chat with Rachel Kennerly of the Cannabis Heals Me podcast to discuss the topic of how cannabis has helped me personally, particularly when it comes to dealing with grief and weaning off of antidepressants. Thank you so much to Rachel for the opportunity to share my personal story on her platform.

To listen to the episode, click here. I think you’ll find this to be an extremely open and candid conversation and I even choked up a little while speaking with Rachel.

If you have any feedback on the subject matter, shoot me a comment below!

Heather DagleyComment